- Associated Press - Thursday, August 11, 2016

BOSTON (AP) - A New York man has been sentenced to prison for his role in a bogus lottery scheme in which victims were told they had won millions of dollars but needed to pay taxes on the winnings before receiving them.

Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz says Wilder Vladimir Merelan, of West Hempstead, was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Boston to 51 months behind bars. He was ordered to pay more than $700,000 in restitution.

Merelan pleaded guilty in April to a charge of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

Prosecutors say Merelan posed as an IRS agent to convince victims to mail him checks or wire him funds. Approximately 16 victims, including a Massachusetts man, sent Merelan and his co-conspirators more than $830,000.

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